Keyser City Council appoints Metcalf; controversy continues

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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By Liz Beavers

Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - The Keyser City Council voted Wednesday to approve the appointment of Keyser native Ron Metcalf to fill the council seat that has been empty since September, but the vote was once again not without controversy.

The seat was vacated by Wililam Zacot’s resignation last fall. In November, council member Billy Meek made the motion to appoint Curtis Perry to the vacancy since he had been the fourth highest vote-getter in the July 28 city election, and that vote passed.

At the next council meeting, however, a vote was taken to rescind the appointment, and Perry and the council have been arguing back and forth ever since in regard to the legality of the rescinded motions and whether mayor Damon Tillman failed to have the oath of office administered in a timely fashion.

Perry has written to the Mineral County prosecuting attorney to ask for an opinion in the matter.

Wednesday, council member Mike Ryan made the motion to appoint Metcalf, running down a list of his accomplishments over the years, and Jim Hannas seconded the motion.

When the vote was taken, however, Meek voted against the appointment, saying it was “because of Mr. Perry.”

Meek went on to say he knew Mr. Metcalf well and agreed that “he has a very impressive resume. However, I want to make sure the Perry case is completely resolved.”

“What do you mean, ‘completed resolved’?” the mayor asked.

Meek said he understood “there is some legal action” that could possibly be in the works.

Tillman commented that the final vote to rescind the appointment, which had been taken on Jan. 27, had been declared legal by city attorney Scott McClure and that was the advice they as a council were taking.

Cutting Meek off in mid-comment, Tillman concluded, “Alright, it passed 3-1.”

Later, when the council held a lengthy executive session for “personnel matters,” the officials could be heard arguing loudly about the vote.

After returning to open meeting, Tillman said Metcalf would be seated on the council by the next meeting on March 10.

Metcalf, a 1975 graduate of Keyser High School, attended Potomac State College and graduated from Marshall University with a degree in marketing and a focus on management.

“He spent 33 years of his life with the Pepsi Cola Company,” Ryan said, noting that he had worked in Chicago, throughout Michigan, and at the corporate office in New York.

“He is well rounded with significant experience in sales management, facilities management, customer service and education,” he said.

Metcalf returned to Keyser two years ago to be close to family, and is a member of Mt. Zion Church.

“His interest in joining the city council is to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the community where he spent his youth,” Ryan said.

Metcalf was scheduled to be sworn into office Thursday afternoon at City Hall